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Sony TVs to kill set-top boxes

TV maker strikes deal with US cable operators

Sony TVs could soon receive cable programmes without requiring separate set-top boxes.

The Japanese manufacturer has signed a deal with major cable TV operators in the US that should lead to the development of TVs and other devices that can provide interactive digital and high-definition video services, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), a cable television trade body in the US, said yesterday.

The six cable operators who have signed the agreement with Sony are Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision and Bright House Networks.

The NCTA said the agreement will help establish a competitive market for "two-way" digital cable-ready products. It addresses how such products will be brought to market with interactive services like video-on-demand, digital video recording and interactive programming guides.

The companies will use a Java-based technology called tru2wayfor their interactive 'plug-and-play' standard. Tru2way, which was formerly called OpenCable, is built into televisions, set-top boxes and other devices, and will allow companies to develop services that can be offered across all products that comply with the specification.


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